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By in Latest News Comments Off on Statement: Cutting Off Alcohol Sales At 10 p.m.? Governor’s New Rule Harmful To Small Business Taverns and Licensed Restaurants

Statement: Cutting Off Alcohol Sales At 10 p.m.? Governor’s New Rule Harmful To Small Business Taverns and Licensed Restaurants

Chuck Moran, Executive Director

The following is a statement from Chuck Moran, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association, concerning today’s announcement from the Governor’s Office to cut off alcohol sales at restaurants at 10 p.m.

 

Today’s announcement by the Governor may sound good, but as usual, the headline doesn’t fit the copy.  Announcing bars, taverns and restaurants can open September 21 to 50% does not solve the problems created by the shutdown and existing orders.

Our member bars and taverns are not making profits operating at 50% without bar service, and are facing a fall and winter without outdoor service. Furthermore, we’ve still seen no scientific justification for having to order a meal to get a beer.

Now, hidden in today’s announcement from Governor Wolf is a barely noticeable stipulation that alcohol sales at restaurants must stop at 10 p.m.

In his statement today, Governor Wolf wrote “Further, starting September 21 restaurants that have alcohol sales will close alcohol sales at 10:00 p.m.”

This rule totally discriminates against establishments that do not offer daytime service. Many establishments open late in the afternoon to serve dinner. In addition, this rule hurts shift workers getting off late who wish to have a drink with their dinner after work.

This hidden rule will help put many more establishments out of business. In a 2019 survey of Pennsylvania small business taverns and licensed restaurants, alcohol sales make up 63 percent of their business. Cutting four hours of sales off a 10- to 14-hour business operation hurts significantly.

Taverns and licensed restaurants should be required to follow science-based rules to help fight COVID-19 including masks and social distancing patron tables. But, where’s the science that says having a drink with a meal after 10 p.m. is any different than having a drink with a meal at 6 p.m.?

Already within only a couple of hours of his announcement, we are already getting many questions about the Governor’s newest rules for taverns and licensed restaurants. Why? Because this rule is very vague and confusing. For example, consider the following questions that we’ve either fielded through phone calls, emails, or on Facebook:.

How about take-out? Can a patron buy a six-pack to take home with their meal after 10 p.m.?

Since taverns and licensed restaurants typically have “R” licenses, how does this impact “R” licenses owned by grocery and convenience stores that stay open past 10 p.m.? Must they close sales of six-packs, wine and slushies at 10 p.m.? What about the clubs that sell both food and alcohol. Are they included as well?

While we’re thankful for being allowed to move back to 50%, but would prefer the same social distancing requirements of all other retailers, the 10 p.m. cutoff of alcohol sales effectively weakens any assistance Governor Wolf offered to these businesses through increased occupancy.

 

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About the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association is a statewide association based in Harrisburg, representing small business taverns and licensed restaurants in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Association formed in 1941, reorganized in 2019, and today advocates for best practices and rights within the industry as well as best experiences for patrons.

By in Latest News Comments Off on Survey Results: Small Business Taverns, Licensed Restaurants Severely Damaged Due To Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 Order

Survey Results: Small Business Taverns, Licensed Restaurants Severely Damaged Due To Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 Order

A survey of small business taverns and licensed restaurants indicates Pennsylvania could see a significant loss of locally owned establishments from closings as a result of the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 Orders.

The survey, conducted by the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association between August 25 and August 28, 2020, included 10 questions exploring financial difficulties.

Most troubling are indications that only 30 percent of the participating neighborhood-based establishments might survive the crisis. This is consistent with national surveys suggesting a possible loss of 70 percent of establishments.

In the PLBTA survey, participants were asked “Without any change to the Governor’s Order or financial assistance from the state and/or federal government, which best describes the future of your business after September 2020?”

Thirteen percent are already closed. Another five percent indicated they will close within a month, while 29 percent say they will likely close by the end of the year and 23 percent say they will likely close in 2021. Only 30 percent said they would not close.

Major layoffs and furloughs were also identified in the survey, again along the same lines as national studies. On average of those establishments participating in the survey, 13 employees per location lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19 Orders. When extrapolated across the industry, considering small business R and H license locations alone, about 109,200 Pennsylvania jobs were lost.

Financially, July 2020 proved to be troubling. The average establishment completing this survey lost $227,179 in July 2020 compared to July 2019.

Only 29 percent of the survey participants said they have not faced any cash flow problems. That suggests 71 percent have had difficulty paying bills including rent, utilities, and loan repayments.

“These results shouldn’t surprise anyone,” said Chuck Moran, executive director of the PLBTA. “When you’re limited to 25 percent indoor capacity and have seen increased expenses along with other difficulties due to state orders, you can expect a serious crisis to develop. This industry can’t sustain itself under these conditions. Changes in state restrictions along with survival and recovery financial packages are needed.”

The survey also explored other business-related difficulties including food and beer deliveries as well as supply deliveries for items such as paper products and cleaning items.

Of those participating in the survey, 89 percent were small business, single-location establishments, while eight percent were small businesses with more than one location. All own either an “R” or “H” liquor license. Three percent were clubs with club liquor licenses. No national or regional chains participated in the survey.

A total of 1,234 invitations to take the survey were sent statewide. There were 100 businesses that completed the survey during the three days. As a result, this survey has a 10% margin of error with a 95% confidence level when considering small business R and H licensees in Pennsylvania.

Working members of the media may request a copy of the results by emailing pataverns@pataverns.com. Please include your name and media affiliation.

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About the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association
The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association is a statewide association based in Harrisburg, representing small business taverns and licensed restaurants in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Association formed in 1941, reorganized in 2019, and today advocates for best practices and rights within the industry as well as best experiences for patrons.

By in Latest News Comments Off on PLBTA Testimony: Pa. Senate Democratic Policy Committee Investigates COVID Impact on Taverns, September 4, 2020

PLBTA Testimony: Pa. Senate Democratic Policy Committee Investigates COVID Impact on Taverns, September 4, 2020

Below is testimony provided by John Nikoloff on behalf of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association to the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Policy Committee on Friday, September 4. The committee was investigating the impact of state COVID-19 orders on restaurants and taverns. Nikoloff is the PLBTA’s state lobbyist. In addition, he is the founder and partner in PA ERG, a lobbying firm based in Harrisburg.

 

Chairman Boscola, members of the Committee, good afternoon. I’m John Nikoloff of ERG Partners representing the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association.

Let me begin by thanking you for inviting the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association to testify today about the struggles of the industry as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and state orders. We appreciate being here to share the story of our Members and industry.

The Tavern Association represents more than 400 small business taverns, pubs, and licensed restaurants across the state. Most of our Members own “R” and “H” licenses while some may have an “E” or even a club license. For the most part, we are your local bars, taverns, pubs, and licensed restaurants. We do not actively recruit large chains, grocery stores, or convenience stores which have an R license.

In terms of business, our average Member makes a living primarily from alcohol sales. Based on our Membership studies, about 63 percent of their business is alcohol sales and 37% of sales are from food. For what it’s worth, the most popular beer served would be Bud, while the most popular mixed drink would be Jack and Coke.

Our average member employs about 16 individuals including the owner and family members. They serve less than 4,000 customers every month. If you count the chairs and barstools, throughout the Member establishments, you’ll find less than 100.

Simply put, our Members are your locally-owned, mom-and-pop neighborhood businesses.

For the sake of overall industry data, looking at the state list of active R, H and E licenses, there are about 9,400 licensees that are not grocery stores, convenience stores or large chains. These are primarily small businesses.

Knowing that my average Member employs about 16 individuals, Pennsylvania’s small business R, H and E licensees create around 150,000 jobs. And, assuming national industry data is correct, you can anticipate more than half are women, many of whom are single mothers.

This week, we wrapped up a survey of small business licensed restaurants and taverns. Our study clearly shows the struggle these establishments are having, and supports findings we’ve seen from national-level studies.

For example, on average, 13 employees per establishment lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19 Orders. When extrapolated across the industry in Pennsylvania, this likely resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the entire industry. When just considering our small business R and H license locations, the state orders likely resulted in about 109,200 jobs lost.

When you consider our average Member employs 16 individuals, and an average 13 employees lost jobs per establishment – or 81 percent, our survey also supports national studies from earlier in the crisis that estimated 81 percent of industry employees were laid off or furloughed during the crisis.

Our survey also found that without any change in the state’s COVID-19 order, 70 percent of small business licensed restaurants are either closed or facing closing in the upcoming year. In the next month, 5 percent say they will close. Another 29 percent say they will likely close by the end of the year, while 23 percent say they will likely close in 2021.

Small business taverns and licensed restaurants along with their employees need your help. And they need it sooner rather than later.

My Members really want to work at full capacity. They’re not looking for another loan. They want to put people to work and let the public decide whether or not to dine indoors while following all appropriate health and safety measures.

But, since operating at 100 percent is not going to be allowed anytime soon, they have no choice but to seek survival and then recovery help to make up for not being allowed to use their licenses at 100 percent.

With colder months ahead, outdoor seating becomes problematic. The state should allow increased indoor dining using safety protocols.

Other than increased indoor dining, we asked in our survey what could help them the most. They responded as following:

  1. State Grants for $25,000 for expenses incurred to date (6.48 on a 7.0 scale)
  2. Forgiveness of license fees and surcharges for 2020-2021 (4.75)
  3. Conversion of sales taxes collected into grants for your bar/tavern/restaurant (4.45)
  4. Increase the state wholesale discount from 10-15% (4.35)
  5. Ability to retain revenues from skill games, VGTs (3.76)
  6. Elimination of the $50 minimum for wholesale discounts (2.24)
  7. Ability to purchase spirits and wine on 30 days credit (1.97)

Very clearly, our industry is looking to the legislature to pass survival bills to include grants and license fee forgiveness. An increase in their discount at state stores would be helpful.

We recognize that this is not a partisan issue, and appreciate your support and the legislation proposed by Sens. Brewster and Iovino, Sen. Boscola and others in the last month.

Since March, these small business establishments along with their employees have been on a downward spiral. They need your help, and they need it now.

In March and April, those who remained open were just barely keeping their heads above water when allowed only to offer take-out service. Some didn’t even open, because there was no way to NOT lose money operating on sales of less than 10% of normal.

That’s ten percent of normal, with 100% operational costs in an industry where the profit margin is well below five percent.

My Members thought they were beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel as each county graduated from Red to Yellow and then to Green. While not the perfect business scenario for the industry, establishments were able to restart outdoor and indoor service with limitations, hiring staff back, generating economic activity, and helping the public begin to feel that we were moving again toward “normal.”

But, it turned out to be false hope. Governor Wolf’s order on July 15 was a setback for every tavern and licensed restaurant in the state – including the good apples who were doing everything right. It closed their bar seating, further limited indoor seating to 25 percent, and required a meal to be ordered with drinks either indoor or outdoor.

And I have to say that our Members’ frustrations have only grown because they have still not – six weeks later – seen any data that even suggests taverns and restaurants operating within the guidelines set by the Governor and Secretary Levine have been responsible for community spread of COVID-19. Instead, the general feeling is that an entire industry is being damaged beyond repair because of the perceived actions of a few bad actors which were not subjected to proper enforcement measures.

Our industry at a tipping point. Our local taverns and licensed restaurants need help if they are going to make it through this crisis and save jobs. We have separately provided a list of various state actions that might provide a lifeline to many of our drowning Members.

Thank you for the opportunity to present this testimony, and I welcome questions.

 

Pennsylvania Small Business Taverns and Licensed Restaurants Relief
and Recovery Recommendations

  1. Passage of legislation to provide grants to small business restaurants and taverns to assist with COVID-19-related business losses, and expenses including costs associated with new outdoor seating, educational expenses including trade association memberships, hand sanitizer, staff PPE, indoor separators (plexiglass installation), digital thermometers… etc.
  2. Elimination of all license fees and surcharges for liquor-related service establishments for two years, provided the establishment had previously allowed on-site consumption.
  3. Elimination of all small games of chance license fees for R, H, E, and clubs for two years.
  4. Passage of legislation providing limited civil immunity from liability for bars, taverns and restaurants that attempt, in good faith, to adhere to the provisions of the COVID-19 emergency declaration, the Governor’s 3-16-2020 COVID-19 Business Closure Order or any other executive order relating to COVID-19, or any guidance issued by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, the Department of Health or the Secretary of Health.
  5. Creation of a Small Business Tavern and Licensed Restaurant Promotion Program coordinated by both the PLCB and the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association to equal those financed for the beer, wine and spirits craft industries.
  6. Create a Liquor Licensee Specialty Council consisting of specialty associations within the industry including taverns, clubs, brew pubs, wineries, and distilleries to build future industry/state government dialogue.
  7. Permanent acceptance of mixed drinks-to-go as a business practice under the state Liquor Laws.
  8. To save money from delivery charges, allow licensed establishments the ability to pick up and deliver their own malt beverage orders, like the model followed when ordering spirits through the PLCB.
  9. Encourage outdoor seating by making the free temporary licensed premise extensions permanent at no additional cost to the licensee.
  10. Encourage outdoor seating expansion and support the entertainment industry by allowing up to 75 decibels of noise on a property line for all establishments with a liquor license, not just some.
  11. Modernize the state’s sanitation requirements to require tap cleaning once every 14 days.
  12. Cap third-party delivery charges for home delivery of meals from all restaurants and taverns.
  13. Increase discount that licensed establishments receive when purchasing liquor through state stores.
  14. Eliminate the $50 minimum purchase requirement at state stores in order for a licensed establishment to receive a discount.

 

By in Latest News Comments Off on KonekTV, PLBTA Join Forces To Help Taverns, Licensed Restaurants Survive COVID-19

KonekTV, PLBTA Join Forces To Help Taverns, Licensed Restaurants Survive COVID-19

Agreement Provides Free PLBTA Membership and KonekTV

(Harrisburg, PA – August 10, 2020) A national company is coming to the assistance of Pennsylvania’s taverns and licensed restaurants to provide financial assistance as the industry struggles through the COVID-19 crisis that has forced hardships on many establishments.

KonekTV, based in Las Vegas, has joined forces with the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association to guarantee establishments have the financial resources to join the state tavern association. In addition, KonekTV will provide their product to those establishments for free.

“We know that Pennsylvania’s taverns and licensed restaurants are struggling financially,” said Javier Vargas, Chief Operating Officer of KonekTV. “We’re going to help them through this crisis by paying their membership dues in the PLBTA for one year and also make our product available to them at no charge. In addition to bolstering the PLBTA’s ability to support the establishments, our product will directly help the establishments benefit from the emerging mobile sports betting industry.”

KonekTV is a digital signage solution and the world’s leading brick-and-mortar platform for sports betting education, information, and promotions in states that have legalized mobile sports betting. Through their innovative product, establishments display sports betting odds and other related sports and establishment news through existing televisions. This allows patrons to use the information when placing bets through their mobile devices.

“Having owned and operated bars and casinos for decades, I know that on-premise technology often lags the at-home experience. KonekTV bridges that divide and brings even better sports betting content and promotions to bar guests than they can get at home. We’ve seen this work in our hometown of Las Vegas and with our national partners, and we are thrilled to bring KonekTV to Pennsylvania hand-in-hand with the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association,” said Seth Schorr, CEO of KonekTV.

“Mobile sports betting is becoming increasingly more popular in Pennsylvania,” said Chuck Moran, executive director of the PLBTA. “Many patrons of taverns regularly tap the power of smart phone apps to place bets, so KonekTV’s product is a great way for an establishment to entertain customers, and keep them longer. It is a natural fit for our industry, especially sports bars.”

From now through November 1, 2020, whenever a Pennsylvania tavern or licensed restaurants activates the KonekTV product, the company will pay for a one-year membership in the PLBTA. Existing Members will have their memberships extended 12 months.

Moran adds that in addition to providing financial assistance to Pennsylvania’s taverns, it will also enable many establishments to access important Member-only emails and communications to help guide them through the COVID-19 crisis.

“Since March, we’ve been working hard to keep our Members in the loop as state orders change,” said Moran. “This agreement between KonekTV and the PLBTA opens the door for non-members to be a part of organized taverns, thus giving them access to relevant benefits to run their businesses. We thank KonekTV for their interest in helping Pennsylvania’s taverns and licensed restaurants.”

Pennsylvania taverns and licensed restaurants interested in a free PLBTA membership for one year and free access to KonekTV should send an email to PLBTA@KonekTV.com.

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About KonekTV
KonekTV is a digital signage solution and the world’s leading brick-and-mortar platform for sports betting education, information, and promotions, in states that have legalized mobile sports betting, such as Pennsylvania! KonekTV powers ad platforms and sports betting content at restaurant chains, stadiums, arenas and casinos across the country.

About the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association
The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association is a statewide association based in Harrisburg, representing small business taverns and licensed restaurants in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Association formed in 1941, reorganized in 2019, and today advocates for best practices and rights within the industry as well as best experiences for patrons.

 

Media Contact: PLBTA Public Affairs, (717) 232-8671

By in Latest News Comments Off on Testimony: Industry Survival and Recovery Needs to Preserve Businesses and Jobs

Testimony: Industry Survival and Recovery Needs to Preserve Businesses and Jobs

The following is testimony presented to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Republican Policy Committee on July 28, 2020, by Jim DeLisio, PLBTA Board Member and York County Tavern Association President. Mr. DeLisio is also the owner of the Racehorse Tavern. Joining him to present was Chuck Moran, Executive Director, PLBTA. The testimony was provided as to discuss problems the COVID-19 crisis has caused for the tavern industry, and to raise awarenes of industry needs to survive.

Chuck Moran

Chairman Causer, members of the Committee, good morning. I’m Chuck Moran, executive director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association. With me is Jim DeLisio, a Board Member of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association and also President of the York County Tavern Association. Jim is the owner of the Racehorse Tavern, an independent family-run establishment in Thomasville.

Let me begin by thanking you for inviting the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association to testify today about our struggling industry as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and state orders. We appreciate being here to share the story of our Members and industry.

I’m going to start off with some general information about our Association, our Members, and our industry. Then I’m going to ask Jim to tell his story and the daily struggles that he and his employees face daily.

The Tavern Association represents more than 400 small business taverns, pubs, and licensed restaurants across the state. Most of our Members own “R” and “H” licenses while some may have an “E” or even a club license.  For the most part, we are your local bars, taverns, pubs, and licensed restaurants.  We do not actively recruit large chains, grocery stores, or convenience stores which have an R license (and many have Wine Expanded Permits).

In terms of business, our average Member makes a living primarily from alcohol sales. In fact, based on our Membership studies, about 63 percent of their business is alcohol sales and 37% of sales are from food.  For what it’s worth, the most popular beer served would be Bud, while the most popular mixed drink would be Jack and Coke.

Based upon Membership studies, our average member employs about 16 individuals including the owner and family members. They serve less than 4,000 customers every month. If you count the chairs and barstools, throughout my Member establishments, you’ll find less than 100.

Again, my Members are your locally-owned, mom-and-pop businesses.

For the sake of overall industry data, looking at the state list of active R and H licenses, there are about 9,400 licensees that are not grocery stores, convenience stores or large chains.  These are primarily small businesses.

Knowing that my average Member employs about 16 individuals, Pennsylvania’s small business R and H licensees create around 150,000 jobs.  And, assuming national industry data is correct, you can anticipate more than half are women, many of whom are single mothers.

Based on one national study from earlier in the crisis, 81 percent of these employees have been laid off or furloughed early in the crisis. We worry that with the latest state orders, many of those who returned to jobs are now almost assuredly facing another layoff.

One national research institute estimated that restaurants have only a 15 percent chance of remaining open if the crisis lasts six months. We are now four full months into this crisis, and we worry that the latest state orders will accelerate closures.

Since March, these small business establishments along with their employees have been on a downward spiral. I’ve spent many hours on the phone talking some off the edge. For the owner, their business is their retirement package. For their employees, the job they have is extremely important to keep up with their bills.

They are all scared and I can hear the panic in their voices when they call.

To give you an example of how serious the situation has become, I have one Member that I was so worried about that I gave her the phone number for the Suicide Prevention Hotline.  I get daily calls and emails telling me that members are being forced to close their doors.

My job has suddenly become that of a counselor and I literally spend hours every day listening to or responding to emails from Members who are desperate.

In March and April, those who remained open were just barely keeping their heads above water when allowed only to offer take-out service. Some didn’t even open, because there was no way to NOT lose money operating on sales of less than 10% of normal.

That’s ten percent of normal, with 100% operational costs in an industry where the profit margin is well below five percent.  Let that sink in.

Thankfully, your work to legalize mixed spirits drinks to go on a temporary basis was a lifeline that kept many afloat through that stage of the crisis. And your efforts to push for outside seating under the Yellow Phase allowed many of them to at least ride along in hopes of a resurgence of business when their counties went Green.  We thank you for doing so.

My Members thought they were beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel as each county graduated from Red to Yellow and then to Green. While not the perfect business scenario for the industry, establishments were able to restart outdoor and indoor service with limitations.

But, it turned out to be false hope. Governor Wolf’s order on July 15 was a set back for every tavern and licensed restaurant in the state – including the good apples who were doing everything right. It closed their bar seating, further limited indoor seating to 25 percent, and required a meal to be ordered with drinks either indoor or outdoor.

The impact of the Governor’s so-called “targeted” response has been negative, especially so in areas of the state with low COVID statistics. The broad brush stroke – at a time when state enforcement data shows a low number of warnings and no citations – is quite questionable. It’s a shotgun approach that has had collateral damage. Simply put, it’s hitting the wrong targets. The revised order cast a large net, but only caught the good apples, letting the bad apples continue to operate as if nothing is wrong.

Our industry at a tipping point. Our local taverns and licensed restaurants need help if they are going to make it through this crisis and save jobs.

You have with our testimony a list of recommendations from our Association. While many are relying on the federal government to provide an industry bailout, we are also calling upon the state to do something.  In fact, there are quite a few things that should be considered to make a difference and ease some stress. These range from additional grants to erasing licensing fees for two years – one year to make up for this lost year and one year to help with recovery.

At this point, I’ll turn the mic over to Jim to tell his personal story.

Jim DeLisio

  • Personal story of his business
    • Initially closed
    • Rethought business model
    • Costs associated with license
    • Cost associated with safety compliance
    • Impact on his employees
  • York County industry observation
    • Industry needs 65-to-70 percent capacity just to break even
    • Bartender and server tips are down overall
    • Estimates that 10-15% of bars in York County have had to close for good, while another 30 to 40% are temporarily closed.

Again, thank you for this opportunity. If you have any questions, we’ll be happy to provide thoughts.

 

By in Latest News Comments Off on PaTaverns To Testify On Industry Survival And Recovery Needs

PaTaverns To Testify On Industry Survival And Recovery Needs

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association (PLBTA) will testify on July 28 in front of the Pennsylvania Majority Policy Committee, chaired by Rep. Martin Causer (R-Cameron/McKean/Potter), to discuss how COVID-19 mitigation efforts are negatively impacting small business licensed restaurants and taverns across the state.

Representing the PLBTA will be Jim DeLisio, owner of the Racehorse Tavern in Thomasville and a member of the PLBTA Board of Directors. Mr. DeLisio is also president of the York County Tavern Association. Joining Mr. DeLisio will be Chuck Moran, executive director of the state association.

As the leading advocate for Pennsylvania’s small business taverns and licensed restaurants in Harrisburg, the PLBTA has been calling upon state leaders to piece together a survival and recovery program.

“Simply put, the state’s current COVID-19 order threatens both businesses and jobs,” says Moran. “Our industry is at a tipping point, and without assistance you can expect even more of these valued community gathering spots to disappear.”

According to Moran, members of the PLBTA have a business model that relies heavily on the sale of beer, wine, and mixed drinks. He says 63 percent of his average member’s business is the sale of those drinks. Furthermore, the average establishment employs about 16 Pennsylvania workers.

“Based on our calculations using state licensing data and member surveys, our small business taverns and licensed restaurants – many family-owned – employ more than 150,000 statewide,” Moran says. “A lot of jobs are on the line, and we need to find ways to preserve these small businesses to save the jobs and the roles they provide within communities.”

Moran says the current COVID-19 orders restricts business to 25 percent indoor occupancy, disallows service at the bar, and limits the sale of adult beverages to only when a patron is eating.

“We had already lost a number of bars and taverns that were forced to close because of earlier state orders this spring.  The losses incurred earlier combined with the latest orders was like a torpedo hitting an already damaged ship, and now the ship is sinking faster,” Moran says. “Pennsylvania taverns rely so heavily on the sale of adult beverages that the most recent order is forcing them to close up shop and send staff to the unemployment lines. The state needs to be a part of the solution in keeping these businesses afloat and then helping them recover in the aftermath of COVID-19.”

The hearing will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 28, in the House Majority Caucus Room, Room 140, Main Capitol.

Others invited to testify include the Pennsylvania Federation of Fraternal and Social Organizations, Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association, and the Wolf administration.

The Tavern Association is advocating for a comprehensive state package to assist with both survival and then recovery for licensees who have suffered losses since March 6. The association is recommending the following:

  1. Passage of legislation to provide grants to small business restaurants and taverns to assist with COVID-19-related business losses, and expenses including costs associated with new outdoor seating, educational expenses including trade association memberships, hand sanitizer, staff PPE, indoor separators (plexiglass installation), digital thermometers…etc.
  2. Elimination of all license fees and surcharges for liquor-related service establishments for two years, provided the establishment had previously allowed on-site consumption.
  3. Elimination of all small games of chance license fees for R, H, E, and clubs for two years.
  4. Passage of legislation providing limited civil Immunity from liability for bars, taverns and restaurants that attempt, in good faith, to adhere to the provisions of the COVID-19 emergency declaration, the Governor’s 3-16-2020 COVID-19 Business Closure Order or any other executive order relating to COVID-19, or any guidance issued by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, the Department of Health or the Secretary of Health.
  5. Creation of a Small Business Tavern and Licensed Restaurant Promotion Program coordinated by both the PLCB and the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association to equal those financed for the beer, wine and spirits craft industries.
  6. Create a Liquor Licensee Specialty Council consisting of specialty associations within the industry including taverns, clubs, brew pubs, wineries, and distilleries to build future industry/state government dialogue.
  7. Permanent acceptance of mixed drinks-to-go as a business practice under the state Liquor Laws.
  8. To save money from delivery charges, allow licensed establishments the ability to pick up and deliver their own malt beverage orders, like the model followed when ordering spirits through the PLCB.
  9. Encourage outdoor seating by making the free temporary licensed premise extensions permanent at no additional cost to the licensee.
  10. Encourage outdoor seating expansion and support the entertainment industry by allowing up to 75 decibels of noise on a property line for all establishments with a liquor license, not just some.
  11. Modernize the state’s sanitation requirements to require tap cleaning once every 14 days.
  12. Cap third-party delivery charges for home delivery of meals from all restaurants and taverns.
  13. Increase the discount licensees receive when purchasing liquor through state stores.
  14. Eliminate the $50 minimum purchase requirement at state stores in order for a licensed establishment to receive a discount.

#     #     #

 

About the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association is a statewide association based in Harrisburg, representing small business taverns and licensed restaurants in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Association formed in 1941, reorganized in 2019, and today advocates for best practices and rights within the industry as well as best experiences for patrons.

By in Latest News Comments Off on Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association Renews Its Call For State To Set Up Special Relief Program For Tavern, Restaurant Industry

Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association Renews Its Call For State To Set Up Special Relief Program For Tavern, Restaurant Industry

(Harrisburg, PA – July 20, 2020) In light of revised state-directed COVID-19 orders negatively impacting taverns and licensed restaurants and the industry’s workforce, the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association (PLBTA) last week called on the General Assembly and Wolf Administration to create an industry relief package to help these small business establishments.

With the situation becoming more desperate as each day passes, this week the PLBTA again is urging state officials to move quickly to save an industry that is at a tipping point.

“The Tavern Association’s members have suffered as much or more than any other segment of Pennsylvania business and industry since mid-March,” said Chuck Moran, Executive Director of the PLBTA. “Our small business taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants have been closed, then limited in reopening, and been forced to comply with rigid and expensive requirements that make profits impossible, because the state has a hammer over them in licensing through the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.”

The costs for these mom and pop operations he noted, which exist on slim profits in the first place, have resulted in the closing of taverns, in the cause of preventing spread of the Covid-19 virus.  Many more are barely hanging on, in hopes that reopening would begin to limit their losses.  They have complied with every requirement, accepted every closing and limitation, and done their fair share and more to support the state’s effort to slow down the spread of the virus, Moran says

“The Governor’s action last week that threw the industry – and just one segment of the state economy – back into a virtual ‘yellow phase’ has jolted these small businesses, and made it increasingly difficult for them to survive,” Moran said.  “State Government needs to recognize the social and economic value of our community-based taverns and licensed restaurants, and provide them with support to avoid the permanent loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs.”

Moran predicts that with the governor’s most recent declaration the industry’s continuing financial hardships will continue likely until either a vaccine or herd immunity is established.

“We’re going to need a bigger lifeboat to save this sinking industry from the jaws of coronavirus,” Moran said. “Outdoor seating – and service of alcoholic beverages only with a meal is not a business model built for survival.  Sales of alcoholic beverages comprise the majority of income for many of these businesses, and food sales have been reduced to ten percent of their norm.  Loss of both has been devastating.  The latest proscriptions for these businesses make it virtually impossible to make a profit while maintaining the jobs they have created.  And being realistic, those that can survive through outdoor seating season will experience additional hardships once colder weather arrives in the fall and winter months, making outdoor seating impossible.”

To provide a lifeline to these businesses, today the Tavern Association again called on leaders in Harrisburg to act quickly on a restaurant and tavern industry relief package that would include the following:

  1. Passage of HB 2615, sponsored by Rep. Todd Stephens (R, Montgomery County), creating a Community Cornerstone Grant Program, to provide grants to small business restaurants and taverns to assist with COVID-19-related business losses, and expenses including costs associated with new outdoor seating, educational expenses including trade association memberships, hand sanitizer, staff PPE, indoor separators (plexiglass installation), digital thermometers… etc.
  2. Elimination of all license fees and surcharges for liquor-related service establishments for two years, provided the establishment had previously allowed on-site consumption.
  3. Elimination of all small games of chance license fees for R, H, E, and clubs for two years.
  4. Passage of SB 1194 or similar legislation providing limited civil Immunity from liability for bars, taverns and restaurants that attempt, in good faith, to adhere to the provisions of the COVID-19 emergency declaration, the Governor’s 3-16-2020 COVID-19 Business Closure Order or any other executive order relating to COVID-19, or any guidance issued by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, the Department of Health or the Secretary of Health.
  5. Creation of a Small Business Tavern and Licensed Restaurant Promotion Program coordinated by both the PLCB and the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association to equal those financed for the beer, wine and spirits craft industries.
  6. Create a Liquor Licensee Specialty Council consisting of specialty associations within the industry including taverns, clubs, brew pubs, wineries, and distilleries to build future industry/state government dialogue.
  7. Permanent acceptance of mixed drinks-to-go as a business practice under the state Liquor Laws.
  8. To save money from delivery charges, allow licensed establishments the ability to pick up and deliver their own malt beverage orders, like the model followed when ordering spirits through the PLCB.
  9. Encourage outdoor seating by making the free temporary licensed premise extensions permanent at no additional cost to the licensee.
  10. Encourage outdoor seating expansion and support the entertainment industry by allowing up to 75 decibels of noise on a property line for all establishments with a liquor license, not just some.
  11. Modernize the state’s sanitation requirements to require tap cleaning once every 14 days.
  12. Cap third-party delivery charges for home delivery of meals from all restaurants and taverns.
  13. Increase discount that licensed establishments receive when purchasing liquor through state stores.
  14. Eliminate the $50 minimum purchase requirement at state stores in order for a licensed establishment to receive a discount.

 

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By in Latest News Comments Off on STATEMENT: Pennsylvania Taverns, Restaurants Need Bailout As They Get More Bad News

STATEMENT: Pennsylvania Taverns, Restaurants Need Bailout As They Get More Bad News

For Immediate Release: July 15, 2020
Contact: Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association, (717) 232-8671

 

Pennsylvania Taverns, Restaurants Need Bailout As They Get More Bad News

The following is a statement from Chuck Moran, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association, concerning the Governor’s announcement today to limit indoor restaurant seating to 25% occupancy and other related mitigation efforts.

 

Chuck Moran, Executive Director

Today Pennsylvania pumped the brakes on reopening of taverns and restaurants. The revised statewide mitigation order in part now limits the industry to 25% indoor occupancy, and requires all patrons seated indoors to be at a booth or table, and ordering food.

At a time when the industry is already struggling, this makes matters worse.

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association calls upon the state to develop a bailout package, specific for the industry.

Our Members are paying their yearly licensing fees to the state, but not being allowed to operate fully. In addition, business loans, rent, utilities, and industry vendors still must be paid out of reduced revenue.

For starters, Pennsylvania should immediately eliminate all state fees associated with running a tavern or restaurant. In addition, higher discounts should be provided to licensed establishments purchasing liquor from the state. Furthermore, additional financial assistance should be included.

In today’s news conference, Governor Wolf said that the state is at a tipping point which forced it to act to prevent COVID-19 spread. Let’s not forget that the tavern and restaurant industry also is at a tipping point. Without help, we will see more small business restaurants and taverns not survive.

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About the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association
The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association is a statewide association based in Harrisburg, representing small business taverns and licensed restaurants in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Association formed in 1941, reorganized in 2019, and today advocates for best practices and rights within the industry as well as best experiences for patrons.

By in Latest News Comments Off on Operation Recovery

Operation Recovery

Rebuilding The Tavern Industry After COVID-19 By Rebuilding Consumer Safety Confidence

Even as COVID-19 restrictions are eased throughout the country, a Gallop poll conducted in April shows a problem taverns and licensed restaurants face next – confidence in personal safety.

In a nutshell, the poll suggests that Americans are hesitant about resuming their normal daily activities amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

For those interested in statistics, the majority of Americans (71 percent) say they will wait and see what happens with the spread of the virus once restrictions are lifted before they return to their normal activities. Ten percent say they would wait indefinitely. These statistics are similar between ages, urban vs. rural, and even political affiliation.

That means only 19 to 20 percent are comfortable returning to their normal activities once restrictions are lifted.

It also means the industry will need to work hard to rebuild business.

Part of that rebuilding will be proving to customers that the industry will keep them safe.

So, what can you do to show your customers you’re keeping them safe as restrictions are lifted? We recommend being proactive and offer the following suggestions:

  • Clean, clean, clean – Make your establishment smell clean from the moment someone walks in! Demonstrate to your patrons by having your staff visibly cleaning the dining area. Tables will need to be wiped thoroughly after each patron. And, don’t forget to sanitize the chairs and other nearby items that they might touch. If your business uses an outside cleaner for fogging, let your customers know that.
  • Mask up – How often have you heard Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Rachel Levine MD say “Remember, my mask protects you, and your mask protects me.” … probably almost daily, right? Constant repetition and fear of COVID-19 has created a new mask-wearing culture. And, that has built an expectation within the public. You’ll help yourself rebuild your business by making sure your staff wear masks.
  • Visible Hand Sanitizers – Clean hands are part of infection control. Put hand sanitizers in locations that are visible and can be easily used by customers and staff. Have a sign near the entrance of your establishment asking customers to use the hand sanitizers.
  • Remove the salt and pepper shakers – Ever wonder who touched that salt shaker last? Trust us when we say, that’s going to be on the minds of many more now than ever before. You probably don’t want to leave shakers, ketchup bottles and other related table items out. Ask your customers if they need condiments, and then bring those requested items to the table.
  • Outside the box menus – If customers are wondering who touched the salt shaker last, they’re also asking the same question about the menu. With COVID-19 still lingering, traditional menus will not be helpful in rebuilding customer safety confidence. Having a rotating pre-fixed menu that can be easily recited by servers might be a consideration. For establishments with larger menus, consider putting options online and then encourage patrons to use their smart phones to review. If that’s not an option, one-time use menus might work. Or, use a plastic covered menu that is sanitized as it is delivered to the customer.
  • Get rid of the buffet – Everyone loves a good buffet. But will they still show the love? Our guess is that many will be avoiding buffets for some time.

The CDC has made available an online document titled “Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility.” The document can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/disinfecting-building-facility.html. We recommend tavern and licensed restaurant owners and managers read this document.

This story has been republished from the June 2020 edition of Pennsylvania Beverage Media, the official monthly magazine of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association. To read the full magazine, join today and get a year-round subscription to the print edition.

By in Latest News Comments Off on Money Saver Benefit: Hand-Sanitizer Special Offer For PLBTA Members

Money Saver Benefit: Hand-Sanitizer Special Offer For PLBTA Members

Tavern Package for PLBTA Members through Faber Distilling.

New guidelines for taverns and restaurants place greater emphasis on cleaning hands. One of the quickest and easiest ways to be in compliance with this guideline is to provide hand sanitizer for your staff and guests.

Thanks to Faber Distilling Company, a Pennsylvania-based company, a special tavern package has been developed just for Members of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association.

For every 5-case purchase, Faber will include 6 free dispenser tops. Each case includes 12 bottles of sanitizer.

Total cost for 5 cases of hand sanitizer (60 bottles total) along with 6 free dispenser tops is only $275.

That’s $4.58 per 16 ounce bottle.

Each bottle uses the same formula as recommended by the World Health Organization. Liquid hand sanitizer is considered better because it dries faster and can be used to wipe down and disinfect other surface areas.

Faber Distilling is producing 800k units daily of hand sanitizer and has millions in stock ready to supply customer needs.

To take advantage of this special offer, email Ian Kobos at Ian@theoandopp.com or call (717) 804-9192. Use code “PaTaverns” to identify yourself as a Member. Purchases are tax free (tax exempt) and free delivery is included. Credit card payments only.

Code = PaTaverns

Larger purchase volumes are available. For larger orders and pallet pricing or information on additional sku’s or wall dispenser pricing please contact Ian.

*Photo shows a bottle with a dispenser cap. The bottles do not come with dispenser tops, however with this special tavern package offer 6 will be included.